It’s that time of year again when Terry Wogan bursts on to our television screens for the annual telethon fundraiser that is ‘Children in Need (CIN). Not only a whole evening of BBC television entertainment dedicated to the event, but an opportunity for people across the nation to let their hair down, dress up and act downright silly. Their collective aim is to loosen your purse strings, prise open your wallets and raise much-needed funds for children who desperately need our assistance.

Fundraising extravaganza

So much for the admirable explanation as to why many usually sane individuals across the country will be donning colourful outfits, baking cakes, shaving their legs and of course rattling collection tins in front of their work colleagues.

First aired in 1980, the CIN campaign has continued to grow over the subsequent years and raised over £740 million for UK children’s charities. Pudsey Bear was introduced as the show’s mascot in 1985, named after the West Yorkshire town where his designer, Joanna Ball was born.

What can we expect this year?

The jovial Wogan will once more be at the helm on Friday evening, ably assisted by his trusted sidekicks Tess Daly and Fearne Cotton, plus a number of other guest presenters. After The One Shows CIN special, the main show will bounce between BBC1 and BBC2 during the evening and into the early hours of Saturday morning.

Tom Jones’ feature

Before that there is a comedy and musical treat promised on Thursday, with BBC1 airing a recording of the ‘One Big Night’ concert co-hosted by the Welsh pairing of Sir Tom Jones and Rob Brydon.

The event itself at the SSE Arena in Wembley was held back in October and incorporated a nostalgic look back over Jones’ career. The former The Voice panellist and his comic compatriot welcomed Australian band ‘5 Seconds of Summer’, ‘The Shires’, percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, plus singers James Morrison and Laura Mvula on to the stage to perform.

Pop stars lend a hand

As ever we can expect the pop stars of today to lend a hand to CIN, notably this time around in the form of chart-toppers Justin Bieber, Rita Ora and Ellie Goulding. They are among the stars creating their own homage to the Queen classic “Bohemian Rhapsody”, through a special photography project that mimics the famous images that accompanied the song itself.

Launched on Wednesday, the aim is to raise funds via the 40 years of Bohemian Rhapsody App.

Goulding is also set to perform her new single “Army” live on the night itself, with appearances also confirmed from such diverse talents as Rod Stewart and Selena Gomez. Not to be left out, Jess Glynne has provided the official CIN single this year with a track called ”Take Me Home”, always a key ingredient in the overall fundraising armoury for the show.

Guest appearances

Among the celebs adding to the Friday night fun will be Harry Hill and Sir Alan Sugar. The Apprentice star will feature in an intriguing Star Wars’ inspired sketch alongside Warwick Davis and the Stig, with the instantly recognisable robots R2D2 and C-3PO in attendance.

Never one to miss out on a glitzy affair, Sir Bruce Forsyth is set to return for a one-off Strictly Come Dancing feature. The show will give the cast of Call The Midwife the chance to don their dancing shoes for once and impress the judges.

Other expected highlights include Shane Richie and the cast of Eastenders holding a traditional knees up, with Peter Andre dropping in to provide his rendition of the Frank Sinatra classic “Come Fly With Me”.

As this year’s programme goes out on Friday the 13th, all those involved will no doubt be hoping that bad luck is avoided for once and many millions of pounds are raised for charity. For further details on what is going on and how to contribute, please see the Children In Need official web site.